The semi-finals of a new cup competition for girls’ teams in Northern Ireland are set to be staged at the end of next week.
South Belfast sides Linfield Ladies and Rosario Ladies, Carnmoney Ladies from Newtownabbey and Portadown-based Ambassadors Girls have reached the last four of the inaugural Electric Ireland Girls’ Challenge Cup.
The new U15/U16 competition - it was open to all women’s/girls’ clubs in membership of the Irish Football Association - builds on Electric Ireland’s partnership with the association and its Game Changers NI campaign which aims to increase the opportunities for girls and women across Northern Ireland to be able to play and watch football.
Both semi-finals of the Electric Ireland Girls’ Challenge Cup are being staged next Friday (26 November) with 8pm kick-offs.
The draw for the last four has pitted Linfield against Rosario, while Ambassadors Girls will meet Carnmoney Ladies.
Linfield and Rosario are set to face each other at Crusaders’ Seaview home in Belfast, and the Ambassadors Girls v Carnmoney Ladies match is being staged at Moyola Park’s ground in Castledawson.
Rosario Ladies defeated Cliftonville Ladies 2-1 in the first round of the competition, while seven teams were given byes to the quarter-finals.
And the south Belfast team were in action again in the last eight, this time defeating Ballymena United Women 3-1.
Linfield Ladies, Carnmoney Ladies and Ambassadors Girls all progressed to the semi-finals after their opponents in the last eight - Comber Rec Ladies, Portadown Ladies and Ballymoney United Ladies - withdrew from the competition.
Angela Platt, the Irish Football Association’s Director of Women’s Football, said: “Both myself and the Irish FA’s Women’s Challenge Cup Committee were delighted when Electric Ireland agreed to sponsor this competition for girls’ youth teams.
“Electric Ireland has provided fantastic support for the girls’ and women’s game in Northern Ireland in recent years, helping to increase the profile of the game and boosting participation numbers.
“I am sure they are as excited as we are to see who reaches the final of the inaugural competition. May I wish all the semi-finalists the best of luck in next week’s matches.”
Image: Electric Ireland’s Anne Smyth was joined by Lisa Hawthorne of Ambassadors Girls, Olivia Leitch of Carnmoney Ladies, Sophie Gargan (Linfield Ladies) and Mea Mezza (Rosario Ladies) as she announced the semi-final ties in the inaugural Electric Ireland Girls’ Challenge Cup.